IKamper Mini expanding hardshell roof tent turns small car into camper
IKamper has had a busy few years. After arriving on the scene with the innovative slide-out Hardtop One, it reworked the idea of an expandable hardshell roof-top tent (RTT), set Kickstarter on fire with a $2 million Skycamp campaign, became an established brand name in the overlanding and camping scenes, and now offers its products in countries around the globe. Following another innovative four-sleeper tent, iKamper is hitting the market once again, this time with a space-saving two-sleeper RTT that leaves room on the roof for Pelican boxes, traction aids and tools. And there's no need for crowd funding this time around.
We had the opportunity to take the original Skycamp out on a weekend camping trip just outside Bryce Canyon National Park and walked away quite impressed with the materials, ease of use and overall design. We weren't quite expecting the tent to be quite as large as it is, though, as it stretches just about the full roof length and width of a mid-size SUV. And here she is to prove it:
A little extra size doesn't outweigh the Skycamp's positives, given it sleeps a family of four, deploys and packs away with minimal effort, and has a sturdy, hassle-free hardshell case. But it's not for everyone. Overlanding and camping involve tons of equipment with limited vehicle space to pack it all, and some people need roof space to handle the overflow.
The new Skycamp Mini bolts to the cross bars as a 57-in (145-cm)-long, near-square box that fits comfortably over a 5-foot (1.5-m) pickup bed. With a length of nearly 86 inches (218 cm), the original Skycamp would be hanging off the end of a short-bed pickup, stretching over top the roof or a little of both, while the Mini fits like a glove. Alternatively, it can mount over the cab and leave the bed open. The smaller sizing also makes it a viable choice for those rolling the streets in one of the new small SUVs that have been popping up like prairie dogs ... or even a Mini Cooper.
The Skycamp Mini is a two-sleeper rather than a four-sleeper like the original Skycamp, but it features the same fold-out design and one-minute setup. During driving, the honeycomb aluminum extension platform is neatly folded away below the fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) hard cover. Extending the platform is as simple as grabbing the attached ladder and pulling it up and out, adding more floor space to stretch the east-west width out to 80 inches (203 cm).
Inside, the Mini has the same breathable poly-cotton canvas walls and quilted panel as the original Skycamp. A new touch since we last looked at the Skycamp: the quilting now includes a world map graphic, helping inspire sweet dreams of explorations yet to come.
The 125-lb (57-kg) Skycamp Mini is available for reservation now, with no payment required until late February, just before the March 2 start of deliveries. Price is set at US$3,499.
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I took the roof liner out of mine and sikaflexed in four rolled 150x150x6mm aluminium plate (also wedged into the inside of the roof gutter recess) so the racks would have something substantial to push down on. A few marine grade stainless nutserts per plate and voila! Success! I can jump up and down on the roof basket now.